|Publication number||US4517837 A|
|Application number||US 06/521,901|
|Publication date||May 21, 1985|
|Filing date||Aug 10, 1983|
|Priority date||Apr 10, 1978|
|Also published as||DE2914275A1, DE2914275C2, DE2954202C2|
|Publication number||06521901, 521901, US 4517837 A, US 4517837A, US-A-4517837, US4517837 A, US4517837A|
|Inventors||Yoshishige Oyama, Teruo Yamauchi, Mamoru Fujieda, Yutaka Nishimura, Takao Sasayama, Shinichi Sakamoto, Hisanori Moriya, Takeshi Atago, Kanemasa Sato, Yoshikazu Hoshi, Sadayasu Ueno, Tadahiko Otani, Mineo Kashiwaya|
|Original Assignee||Hitachi, Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (20), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (38), Classifications (18), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 028,889 filed Apr. 10, 1979, now abandoned.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to an air flow rate measuring apparatus used especially for the measurement of the flow rate of air taken into an internal combustion engine.
2. Description of the Prior Art
An example of the conventional air flow rate measuring apparatus is disclosed in, for example, the U.S. patent application No. 3,824,966, in which a thin bare wire of metal is extended across the main venturi so as to be used as a flow sensor.
Such a flow sensor is exposed directly to the adverse influence of the abnormal condition such as the back fire of engine so that the fine wire tends to be damaged by thermal and mechanical impacts due to the abnormal phenomenon. Moreover, since the sensor is placed in the main venturi where the rate of flow of the intake air is very large, microscopic dust suspended in the intake air tends to be deposited on the fine wire. The deposited dust deteriorates the characteristic of the sensor. Further, the above cited flow sensor is subject to thermal disturbance due to heat conduction through the supporting member of, for example, metal and the disturbance leads to error in the measurement of air flow.
Another example of the conventional air flow apparatus is disclosed in, for example, the Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 113432/77. According to the cited reference, the air flow meter is located in a bypass provided apart from the main venturi. In this reference, however, no thermal influence on the air flow meter is considered.
The object of this invention is to eliminate the drawbacks of the conventional air flow rate measuring apparatus and therefore to provide an air flow rate measuring apparatus in which an air flow sensor is supported by a heat-insulating support member and located in a bypass for the main venturi of an internal combustion engine so that the error in the detected flow may be reduced.
FIG. 1 illustrates the principle of a method for measuring the flow rate of air drawn into an engine;
FIG. 2 shows in partially sectioned view an embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 3 shows, on an enlarged scale, a principal portion of the structure shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 shows in top view the flow sensor and the associated heat-insulating support member shown in FIGS. 2 and 3;
FIG. 5 shows in top view another embodiment of this invention in which the construction shown in FIG. 3 or 4 is provided with a temperature sensor;
FIG. 6 shows in partially sectioned view the detailed structure of a flow sensor used in an air flow rate measuring apparatus according to this invention;
FIG. 7 shows in partially sectioned view how a flow sensor embodying this invention may be mounted on a heat-insulating support member;
FIG. 8A shows the structure of a heat-insulating support member as another embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 8B is a cross section taken along line VIIIB--VIIIB in FIG. 8A, with the cross section of a housing for containing the associated control circuit therein; and
FIG. 9 shows in oblique view a flow sensor as another embodiment of this invention.
As shown in FIG. 1, in a path 1 in which intake air flows, an air flow sensor 2 whose electric characteristic varies with the flow rate or the velocity of the intake air is provided. The air flow sensor 2 is grounded through a resistor 3 and the sensor 2 and the resistor 3 form two arms of a resistance bridge circuit. The voltage developed across the resistor 3 is applied to a control circuit 4. The output of the control circuit 4 is amplified by an amplifier 5 and then used to control a power transistor 6. One terminal of the air flow sensor 2 is connected with the collector of the power transistor 6. With the circuit shown in FIG. 1, the current I flowing through the air flow sensor 2 is picked up by the resistor 3. Also, the current I is so controlled by the control circuit 4 and the transistor 6 so as to maintain the temperature and therefore, the resistance of the sensor 2 constant. Accordingly, the current I is related to the air flow rate Q by King's formula such that I2 =(C1 +C2 √Q)(tw -ta)S; therefore, the flow rate Q of air flowing by the sensor 2 can be measured by detecting the current I, where C1, C2, and S are coefficients, tw the temperature of hot wire, and ta the temperature of air. This way of detecting the air flow rate is based on the temperature-fixed control of the sensor 2 in which the temperature of the sensor 2 is kept constant throughout the measurement. Alternatively, however, the so-called current-fixed control type air flow rate measurement may be employed. The temperature-fixed control is quicker in response than the current-fixed control.
As shown in FIG. 2, a main venturi 7 is connected with a throttle chamber 8 provided with a primary and a secondary throttle valves 8A and 8B. In the throttle chamber generally designated by the reference numeral 8, a fuel injector generally designated by the reference numeral 9 injects fuel on the downstream side of the primary throttle valve 8A. The air flows into an air suction path which includes a main venturi chamber 7A and a throttle chamber 8. The air suction path is divided into a main air suction path and a bypass path 10. The air flowing into the main venturi 7 is supplied from an air filter (not shown) provided on the upstream side of the main venturi 7 and the air-fuel mixture produced by the injection of fuel is sent through the throttle valves 8A and 8B to the cylinders of the engine. A part of the air flowing toward the constricted throat of the main venturi is caused to flow into a bypass 10 as indicated by arrows in FIG. 2. The bypass 10 is formed in the venturi chamber body 7A defining the main venturi 7. The air flow past the bypass 7 exits into the main venturi 7 through a circular slit 11 cut in the inner wall of the venturi 7 since there is a difference in pressure between the entrance of the bypass 10 and the slit 11.
As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, an air flow guide member 22, made of metal or insulating material, is placed on the upstream side of the sensor 2 so as to make the air flow uniform. It is preferable that the opening in the air flow guide member 22 should have a circular cross section. Therefore, the bypass 10 should also preferably have a circular cross section. An orifice 26 is provided to render the ratio of the rate of the flow of air through the bypass 10 to the rate of the flow of air through the main venturi 7 set at a predetermined value (the ratio is referred to as bypass ratio). A dust cover 12 (see FIG. 2) has an area larger than the topmost cross sectional area of the opening of the air flow guide member 22 so that dust suspended in the intake air may not enter the bypass 10. The air flow sensor 2 is rigidly fixed to a support plate 30 made of heat-insulating material in a manner described in detail hereinbelow. As shown in FIG. 3, the support plate 30 is clamped between the air flow guide member 22 and a gasket 28, preferably made of a heat-insulating and vibration absorbing material, and the guide member 22 is rigidly fixed to the bypass chamber body 10A defining the bypass 10 by means of, for example, screws (not shown). The support plate 30 may be made of ceramic or epoxy resin.
The heat-insulating support plate 30 has an opening 32 almost the same in size as the opening of the guide member 22, as shown in FIG. 4, and the sensor 2 is located in the central region of the opening 32. Electrodes 34 for supplying electric power to the sensor 2 and electrodes 36 for detecting the voltage across the sensor 2 are provided on the support plate 30 by a well-known technique such as, for example, printed-circuit formation. The ends of the lead wires of the sensor 2 are connected with the electrodes 36 by soldering or according to a method as described hereinbelow.
The temperature of the air flowing through the bypass 10 varies depending on, for example, the weather, the sensors, and the operating condition of the engine, and the variation in the temperature will cause an error in the measurement of the rate of air flow through the bypass with the air flow sensor. It is therefore necessary to measure the temperature of the air flowing through the bypass 10 and to correct the data obtained from the sensor 2 by the use of the result of the temperature measurement. Accordingly, a temperature sensor 31 is employed for this purpose, which should be of the same structure as the air flow sensor 2 in view of fabrication and performance or may be an ordinary thermister.
FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of this invention in which an air flow sensor 2 and an air temperature sensor 31 are juxtaposed substantially in a plane. The temperature sensor 31 is connected with electrodes 37 attached to a heat-insulating support plate 30.
FIG. 6 shows in detail the structure of the air flow sensor 2 used in the embodiments of this invention. A cylindrical base 42 is hollow and made of, for example, glass or ceramic. Each of lead wires 44 is made of, for example, a paltinum-iridium alloy or so-called Dumet wire. The lead wire 44 has a portion 44A with a diameter slightly smaller than that of the cylindrical base 42 and also a flange-like portion having a diameter larger than that of the cylindrical base 42. The portion 44A having a smaller diameter is fitted into the hollow of the cylindrical base 42 and the lead wire 44 and the base 42 with it surface metallized are rigidly bound together by, for example, soldering (for ceramic base) or thermal fusion (for glass base). Turns of thin resistive wire 45 made of, for example, platinum, a nickel-chromium alloy or a tyngsten-silver alloy, are wound about the cylindrical surface of the base 42 and each of the ends of the wire 45 is connected with the lead wire 44 at a point S by means of, for example, spot welding. Preferably, the surface including those of the base 42, the resistive wire 45 and a part of the lead wire 44 should be covered with an inorganic insulating material such as, for example, glass having resistivity to heat, moisture and oxidation. It is necessary that the lead wire 44 and the cylindrical base 42 should have almost the same thermal expansion coefficient. This is because the portion of the cylindrical base 42 kept in contact with the lead wire 44 must be protected against too great thermal stress which results from repeated variations of temperature due to repeated use of the engine and which may cause damage to the sensor 2.
FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of this invention in which the lead wires 44 of the sensor 2 are fixed to the heat-insulating support plate 30 in such a manner as described below. A so-called pressure-welded composite metal plate 47 is formed by the pressure welding of two metals, with an upper metal sheet 48 being made of, for example, platinum, tungsten or stainless steel and lower metal sheet 50 being made of, for example, copper, copper alloy or nickel-plated iron. The lead wire 44 is connected with the pressure-welded composite metal plate 47 by, for example, spot welding. The composite metal plate 47 and especially the lower metal sheet 50 is rigidly fixed to the electrode 34 or 37 of copper or nickel-plated aluminum by, for example, soldering. Dumet wire may be substituted for the composite metal plate 47 and in that case the Dumet wire is connected with the lead wire by spot welding while the dumet wire is soldered to the electrode 34.
In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the sensor 2 is fixed to a heat-insulating member in the form of a flat plate, but in the embodiment of FIGS. 8A, 8B, the sensor 2 is rigidly mounted on a heat-insulating support member 55 in the form of a block. The block-shaped support member 55 is inserted through the side wall of the bypass chamber body 10A into the bypass 10 so that the sensor 2 may be located in position in the bypass 10.
Conductors 52 and 53 with which the air flow sensor 2 and the temperature sensor 31 are connected respectively are embedded in the cylindrical heat-insulating support member 55. The ends of the conductors 52 and 53 protrude from the surface of the support member 55 so as to serve as wiring terminals 52A and 53A. A housing 60 contains a printed circuit board 61 and the parts 62 of a control circuit soldered to the board 61. The terminals 52A and 53A are connected with the control circuit 62 for operating and controlling the air flow sensor 2 and the temperature sensor 31. The housing 60 has its inner portion rigidly fixed to the portion of the support member 55 projecting from the bypass chamber body 10A by, for example, a binding agent 63. The housing 60 is, in turn, fixed to the bypass chamber body 10A by means of, for example, screws (not shown). The support member 55 is fitted into a bore 56 communicating with the bypass 10.
With this structure, the housing 60 containing the control circuit 62 and the support member 55 form an integral unit which may be attached to or detached from the bypass chamber body 10A.
As shown in FIG. 9, an air flow sensor may be fabricated by sintering a film of paste composed mainly of platinum or silver. Such a sensor is a so-called planar thick film thermistor. The sensor 70 is formed on a base plate 73 of ceramic or glass and the ends of the sensor 70 and electrically connected with conductors 71 and 72. A heat-insulating support member is made of, for example, ceramic or suitable synthetic resin. It is preferable to form the base 73 and the support member 74 as a single unit. The conductors 71 and 72 are embedded in the support member 74 and connected respectively with external terminals 71A and 72A. A broad arrow indicates the direction of the air flow. The support member 74 having the air flow sensor 70 mounted thereon may be inserted through the through hole 56 cut in the bypass chamber body 10A into the bypass 10, as shown in FIG. 8B, so that the air flow sensor 70 is located in the center of the bypass 10.
As described above, according to this invention, since the air flow sensor 2 is supported on the heat-insulating support member, the sensor 2 is free from the thermal disturbance such as the conductive dissipation of the heat generated by the sensor itself and the conductive addition of heat from the bypass chamber body 10A or the venturi chamber body 7A to the sensor 2. As a result, the sensor 2 can perform measurements with only small errors. Moreover, since the sensor 2 is placed in the bypass 10, the thermal and mechanical impacts due to back firing cannot reach the bypass 10. Further, since the air flow is smaller in the bypass 10 than in the main venturi 7, the sensor 2 can be well protected from the adverse effect by dust so that a high precision in detection can be preserved.
Incidentally, if the venturi chamber body 7A is spaced from the throttle chamber 8 by a spacer interposed therebetween, the thermal influence on the sensor 2, which may be otherwise considerable, can be effectively reduced.
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|U.S. Classification||73/202.5, 73/114.34|
|International Classification||G01F1/69, F02D41/18, G01F5/00, G01F1/68, G01F1/684, G01F1/692|
|Cooperative Classification||G01F1/692, F02D41/187, G01F5/00, G01F1/684, G01F1/6842|
|European Classification||G01F1/684C, G01F1/684, G01F5/00, F02D41/18D, G01F1/692|
|Sep 26, 1988||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Sep 28, 1992||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Sep 30, 1996||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12